Here’s how we’re supporting and powering live comedy during Coronavirus. Whether you’re a comedy fan, comedian, venue, agent, or anybody in-between – we hope you can join us and #hecklethevirus.
Initiative 1: A Virtual Comedy Venue
We’ll be streaming stand-up recordings and other new comedy formats via our Twitch channel (Twitch is like YouTube for live streaming). Crucially – this allows comedians to continue to earn revenue during lockdown via Twitch’s donation features. If you’re a comedian interested in taking part, we’d love to hear from you.
Initiative 2: Earn Revenue By Promoting NextUp – for individuals
If you’re a comedian, comedy fan or anybody really – you can instantly earn revenue for every paying member you send to NextUp.
Initiative 3: Earn Revenue By Promoting NextUp – for organisations such as venues, festivals and event/ticket websites
If you’re an organisation with a large mailing list or social media following of comedy fans and would like to earn revenue by directing people to NextUp, we can set up a special partnership that rewards you for every paying member that joins NextUp.
Initiative 4: Fundraising to Support Comedians
The world is going through an incredibly challenging time – people need to rally together more than ever, which means following contagion guidance whilst remaining calm and selfless (since when did ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mean ‘Panic Buy Bog Roll’?).
It’s not going to be an easy few months, but we know the option for people to enjoy comedy is more necessary than ever, and the livelihoods of comedians and those working in the comedy industry must be supported.
As the digital home of live comedy we’re going to be doing everything in our power to make this happen and we’re currently forming plans by talking to all tranches of the comedy world, from acts and audiences to venues and festivals. We aim to publish our plans by Friday 20th March.
We hope we can play a part in making a bad situation just a tiny bit better – which is what comedy has always been invaluable for.
Other People’s Initiatives and Advice
Petition for Universal Basic Income
A petition has been started to urge the UK government to implement a country-wide trial of Universal Basic Income to help support those most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis. You can sign the petition here.
MoneySavingExpert Guide to Coronavirus Financial Help & Rights
The team at MoneySavingExpert have put together an extremely comprehensive guide to your rights and finances during this time. The guide covers sick pay, mortgages, rental help, and energy top-ups and also includes a helpful section on avoiding coronavirus related scams. You can read the whole guide here.
The wonderful Bryony Kimmings has started a grass roots initiative called #GigAid to encourage artists to support each other during the next few weeks and months. You can currently DM her on Twitter to pledge support or ask for help in finding some financial relief.
British Comedy Guide’s ‘The Covid Sessions’
The Covid Sessions is a brand new initiative to help keep comics occupied and accessible to the public.
British Comedy Guide are asking for you, as brilliantly funny creatives, to submit video clips that they can package into showcase programmes and share with the world whilst the traditional live circuit remains closed.
You can find all the information here.
The Stay at Home Festival
Robin Ince and Josie Long have put together a stellar line-up for their Stay at Home Festival. In their own words, “We will be live streaming pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day, some of our top podcasts like Book Shambles and Science Shambles as well as presenting mixed bill comedy nights and conversations all without anyone leaving their home. It’s fair to say it might be a bit rough and ready in places but that’s where we’re at with things.”
You can find more information here.
Bring Your Own Baby
Carly Smallman and Alyssa Kyria of Bring Your Own Baby are currently pooling resources to keep their wonderful community afloat. You can find Carly’s message to everyone here and when further initiatives are announced we will update this page with all the relevant information.
Irish comic wonder Alison Spittle is organising a nightly streaming party, #CovideoParty, during which she will pick a film, dress up in a theme related to the film and watch it live. You can find information on how to tune in to her streams at 9pm here.
Comedians on Twitch
Saima Ferdows has started a Twitter thread for comics to drop their newly created Twitch URLs into.
Live Streaming Support
For comedians looking to utilise live streaming to continue connecting with audiences and earn revenue – the incredibly talented and funny Steve McNeil is on hand…
Mental Health Support
The Mental Health Foundation have published some great advice on their website that aims to reduce the burden on people who are experiencing a negative impact on their mental health from all the COVID-19 talk. That information can be found here.
Advice from the World Health Organisation has been widely shared on Twitter as well. One of the replies to this Tweet helpfully pointed out that it is also possible to mute certain keywords on Twitter.
This is actually valuable advice, and I reckon applies to Twitter as well. pic.twitter.com/Fp8U3gb1ww— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) March 10, 2020
Objectively Funny’s New Zine on Mental Health
Following on from their Small Book on Mental Health last year, the team at Objectively Funny are back with a new zine. Created in collaboration with a variety of performers it features insightful discussions and information on improving mental health during the lockdown. All the contributors are paid but the magazine is free for anyone who needs it. To find out more visit https://www.objectivelyfunny.com/
Arts Council Guidance
Arts Council England have announced £20 millions in funds for individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. Artists will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 if they have a track record in publicly funded culture. More information and future updates can be found here.
Have Your Say
If you work in the comedy industry, please let us know how Coronavirus is affecting your livelihood and whether there are ways in which you can potentially help (eg, streaming equipment, fundraising). This will allow us to put together the best support initiatives.